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Drugged boy wandered in heat for hours. Siblings passed out at home with mom, Iowa cops say

A Des Moines, Iowa, mother was arrested on child endangerment charges after her son was found drugged and wandering in the heat while the mom was passed out at home with two other drugged children, police said. Hospital officials found open alcohol containers in her purse, according to police.
A Des Moines, Iowa, mother was arrested on child endangerment charges after her son was found drugged and wandering in the heat while the mom was passed out at home with two other drugged children, police said. Hospital officials found open alcohol containers in her purse, according to police. Polk County Jail

Neighbors could tell the 8-year-old boy was unwell when he drifted — all alone — over to their gathering on a hot Sunday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa.

The boy was acting lethargic and had been outside for hours. The heat had left him “in a state of physical distress,” according to a criminal complaint obtained by WHO. The boy informed his neighbors that he was concerned about his mother. She was asleep at their home — as were his siblings — even though it was only 4:45 p.m. And despite the boy’s efforts, he couldn’t rouse his mother, according to police.

When neighbors called police, officers found the scene at home as the boy described it, KHAK reports: The mother, Morgan Brown-Edmundson, 35, was passed out with her two other children, according to police.

Police then woke Brown-Edmundson up, the Des Moines Register reports.

“She was out of it,” Sgt. Paul Parizek told the newspaper. “She was under the influence of something.”

And so were her children, according to police. Brown-Edmundson had drugged her kids so they would sleep during the day, KHAK reports. Police said one of her children, a 6-year-old, could barely stay conscious.

As the family was taken to the hospital, the 8-year-old boy told police that his mother routinely gave the children sleeping pills and more during the day so they would fall asleep, according to a complaint obtained by the Register.

The mother wasn’t exactly apologetic, according to police.

“It was clear to officers that (Brown-Edmundson) was more irritated with the adults that brought her kid home than she was concerned with the kids,” Parizek told the Register. “We thank those people for stepping up and being good neighbors and taking care of those kids.”

At the hospital, security guards found open alcohol containers in Brown-Edmundson’s bag, according to the complaint obtained by WHO. She told police she “drank more than enough and over the limit” over the course of the day.

Brown-Edmundson was booked at the Polk County Jail Sunday just after 7 p.m., according to jail records. She faces three child endangerment charges.

Brown-Edmundson was released from jail Monday morning, records said.

The children are no longer in her custody, WHO reports.

The South Carolina Department of Social Services lists numerous signs of child abuse and neglect. Here are 10 signs to look for if you suspect a school-aged child is being abused.

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